September 27, 2008 - Saturday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Malachi 3:6—4:6; Matthew 4:12-25

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD! (Psalm 122:1)

Psalm 122 is a song of ascent, a “going up” hymn as the pilgrims “went up” to Jerusalem. You always went up to Jerusalem even if you came down in elevation to get there. The reason was simple. Jerusalem was God’s city, a city held firmly together by the promises of God. To come up to Jerusalem was to come to the place where the Lord came down to you.

Are you glad when they say, “Let’s go to church?” Not always, maybe even not usually. Admit it. The old Adam would rather sleep in, kick back, hang out, anything but go to church. Church is “boring” to the old Adam, no matter how much we try and make it entertaining. The old Adam would rather sing any song, but this song of ascent; he would rather sing the songs of descentthat drag our humanity down into the depths of sin, death, and hell.

Great and wonderful things await you in God’s city - forgiveness abounding, a peace that surpasses your understanding, joy beyond measure, life in abundance, words of forgiveness, renewing baptismal water, bread that is Christ’s Body, wine that is His Blood. In a word: salvation and all that Jesus hung on a cross to win for you.

The book of Hebrews says of those who come to worship, “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)

Now that’s a reason to get up early on Sunday morning. You’re coming up in the world. You’re going to Mt. Zion, to God’s city, to His church. And though that little congregation of yours may not seem like much of a city, there is so much more going on there than meets your eye. “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, gladly hear and learn.” I was glad when they said, “Hey, let’s go to church!”